A beautiful French-Savoyard town, Brides les Bains was the designated Olympic Village for the 1992 Winter Olympics. Although village skiing is sparse, the high-speed Olympe gondola takes you from the centre of Brides les Bains to the heart of the Three Valleys skiing area in 25 minutes. It is also just 20 minutes drive to the La Plagne ski area. This is a gateway to some truly superb skiing and also home to the largest natural spa in the French Alps. Après ski here may not be as thriving as other resorts in the Three Valleys but there is still plenty to occupy everyone after a long day on the slopes. Bars and restaurants are plentiful and, for those looking for a late night, there are two nightclubs and the only casino in the Three Valleys. Brides les Bains is a great choice both for its superb spa facilities and access to a huge range of ski and snowboard terrain.
* Based on the Three Valleys ski region
Absolute beginners may find Brides les Bains challenging. Since there are no groomed slopes here, beginners will have to travel to and from other resorts. Nearby Méribel has good ski tuition, but few nursery slopes. Drag lifts are common, too. Quick learners will find plenty of smooth blue pistes to graduate onto.
The wonderful lift system throughout the Three Valleys gives keen skiers access to a stunning amount of terrain. Brides les Bains offers wonderful opportunities to cover many kilometres. Snowboarders and freestyle skiers will be delighted with Méribel's two terrain parks, Plattières and Moon Park.
There are a handful of off-piste runs which allow experts to ski from Méribel down to Brides les Bains village. A guide is recommended to ensure you navigate through the trees and bumps safely. Across the Three Valleys area there are countless challenges both on and off-piste.
Skiing with a family in Brides les Bains means that you are not staying near the slopes. A gondola ride to Méribel is necessary for access to kids clubs, kindergartens and ski schools. Once in Méribel, there are plenty of options. Le Club Saturnin offers childcare for those aged 18 months to 8 years. Les P'tits Loups kindergarten caters for children aged 3 to 5. Both these clubs offer ski lessons for children over 3. Méribel's ESF kindergarten and ski school meeting point is at the gondola arrival point from Brides les Bains.
Most of the surrounding villages boast summits above the 3000 m mark. The Three Valleys offer plenty of high altitude slopes and with such a good lift system, skiers and snowboarders should not find it difficult to reach these peaks.
Shaded, high altitude slopes are abundant across the Three Valleys. Each resort has a good coverage of snowmaking equipment, too, meaning that many pistes stay open well into May. Nearby Méribel is best covered in the early morning, whilst Les Menuires and Val Thorens generally have good snow conditions in the afternoon.
There is a lot to do off the slopes in Brides les Bains, however après ski is generally not as lively as in other Three Valleys resorts. The town's natural spa is a big focus, with relaxation and fitness courses offered here. Brides les Bains is the main shopping centre in the valley, there is also a cinema playing English and French speaking films on its two screens. Restaurants here offer wonderful Savoyard cuisine, and the bars have a friendly, low-key atmosphere. The two nightclubs and casino offer music and gaming into the night. The gondola between here and Méribel shuts at 5pm in the evening, so trips by bus can be organised for evenings out.